Former Jacksonville Man Convicted for Preparing, Filing False Tax Returns
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – A jury has convicted a former Jacksonville, Ill., resident for aiding and assisting in the preparation of false income tax returns and for filing false tax returns. On Friday afternoon, Aug. 16, 2019, a jury deliberated approximately two hours before returning guilty verdicts on all charges against West Mpetshi (ma-pet-shē). Sentencing is scheduled on Dec. 13, 2019, before U.S. District Judge Sue E. Myerscough.
During the two weeks of trial, which began on Aug. 5, the government presented evidence that in 2015 and 2016, Mpetshi, 38, was living in Jacksonville and was employed at Cargill Meat Solutions Corp., in Beardstown, Ill. The defendant was not a licensed tax preparer but used the tax preparation software program TurboTax at his home to prepare returns for himself and others, including fellow Cargill employees who were French-speaking. Mpetshi was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a French-speaking country in southern Africa.
Mpetshi typically charged $250 to $300 to prepare and submit a tax return. Individuals would generally provide income information to Mpetshi who required payment up front. Mpetshi then prepared the return and added false deductions and credits for education or moving expenses which resulted in higher refunds paid to the taxpayer. Taxpayers were not provided copies of their filed returns.
Mpetshi, currently of Carbon Cliff, Ill., will remain on bond pending sentencing. Each of the 30 counts charged carries a maximum statutory penalty of up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
At trial, the government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gregory K. Harris and Patrick D. Hansen. The IRS, Criminal Investigation Division, investigated the charges.